I left Staples, bid Surly farewell, came home, kissed my wife, checked on my daughter sleeping soundly and everything became right in the world again. I then sat behind the computer to type.
Wherever your place of peace happens to be, go there.
Being angry at tonight’s loss is a waste of your time and energy.
Jonathan Quick played a poor game in the sense that he looked human. I know he wants that 4th goal back…perhaps even the 1st.
We threw a lot of shots on net from the point, many went wide because we had no lane, those that made their way to Hackett (it feels weird typing that name after all these years) were either easy stops or the Wild were ready to clear the rebounds. That happens when you take low percentage shots and your offensive system is based on a hope and prayer. I am not taking too much away from Matt Hackett. He played well and he got plenty of offensive support. A novel concept.
Forecheck? What forecheck? I specifically focused on the forecheck throughout the game. Recall Terry Murray telling you about how the Kings have gotten more aggressive on the forecheck and have made adjustments from last season? Remember when I told you that was bullshit? Tonight was Exhibit A.
Surly sat next to me most of the game and I pointed (literally) it out to him as it was happening. He knew it and I didn’t have to say a thing. Disregarding the dump ins for line changes (those don’t count because there is no intent to recover the puck), on set zone entries where the puck was dumped, F1 forechecked and was often outnumbered (except in the third), F2 stayed back unless F1 recovered the puck (which rarely happened). F3 played defense (high slot or boards). D1 and D2 might as well have both been D2.
Guess how many times during the entire game the L.A. Kings actually sent the F2 in simultaneously with the forecheck? Three times. The entire game. Pathetic? Pathetic. Incidentally, two of those three resulted in good scoring chances. Still though, down 2 goals and then 3 and you don’t activate the F2 and F3 along with the D1 unless you recover the puck? Not wow. Terry Murray hockey.
How many times did the Kings attempt a lateral pass for a one timer below the top of the circle and between the dots? Once. Meanwhile, did you notice the Minnesota Wild’s offense included a significant amount of one time attempts when they had sustained pressure and puck possession? I was actually a little surprised to see it and, truth be told, impressed. Regarding the lone one from the Kings, I think it was Johnson from the point with a long diagonal pass to Kopitar but I am not certain about Johnson. Kopi took a nice shot and Hackett made a good glove save. Once. If there was another, I didn’t see it. What I saw more times than I cared to count was the Kings FORCED, absolutely and brutally fucking forced the pass along the boards and to the point for the hail mary shots to the net. Maddening? No. Terry Murray hockey.
When Minnesota went into a prevent defense, a complete collapse down low in the third period, the Kings were finally able to generate sustained pressure but, in the end, the shots were not that difficult to stop because they consistency, no, incessantly came from the low to high and the point. Predictable? Terry Murray hockey.
Terry really should take solace in the fact the team played his hockey, what he preaches, to a tee tonight. He cannot possibly be disappointed in any of the forwards or D. Yeah, he can blame Jonathan Quick. Quick didn’t steal one for him. But, shot mentality was in full effect even though scoring opportunities were not…in Murray land, that is irrelevant.
Side note, Trent Hunter is a brutal hockey player to watch. I know he scored a goal and the expression about sunshine and a dog’s ass comes to mind but for him to take a roster spot from Brad Richardson is embarrassing. Of course, with that goal, Murray may elevate him to the second line.
I will also let you in on a hunch that I want you to take with a grain of salt. As exhausted as I was watching that abortion before the third period, when Minnesota decided to stop skating past their own blue line, I got a sense that Terry Murray’s days became numbered tonight for the first time…after the interview with Lombardi, then Murray, then the players, tonight’s perfect example of why Terry Murray’s system is a resounding failure even when played to near perfection, may have actually reverberated through Lombardi, Leiweke and those in positions of power. Hell, that’s probably crazy talk and I am sure I am wrong.
Regardless, the advice I give you, my fellow maniacs, is to not torture yourself over this loss. You are a Kings fans first and foremost. I still want to believe Murray will turn this (and himself) around, that he has it within his acumen to evolve but, if he does not and he refuses to do so in the face of his impending doom, I just hope Dean Lombardi is smart enough not to wait until the Kings miss the playoffs to pull the trigger…if he does, he may find himself following Murray out the door.
Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to kiss my beautiful sleeping daughter good night.
Go to your happy place.